Immigration Lawyer’s Notebook – The Startup Visa Act of 2010
Working as an immigration attorney in San Francisco, I am interested in how immigration policy can help or hurt a struggling economy. A bipartisan bill, The Startup Visa Act of 2010, was introduced by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) and Sen. Richard Luger (R-Ind). The bill aims to assist global entrepreneurs in obtaining US visas.
This is not a simple open door policy. A foreign entrepreneur can obtain a temporary two-year visa (currently designated as an EB-6 visa) if he is able and willing to invest $250,000 in a business he intends to start. This can lead to a permanent visa.
To qualify for permanent legal status, an entrepreneur must have achieved one of the following after two years:
• You have created five full-time jobs in the US
• Succeeds in raising $1 million in additional investment money.
• Generated $1 million in revenue.
It is endorsed by over 160 venture capital investors from around the world. This bill, of course, could have an impact on the San Francisco area economy as well as my practice as an immigration attorney. At this stage, it is difficult to estimate how many entrepreneurs can take advantage of this opportunity.
This could indeed have an impact on immigration from China. A recent Newsweek.com article reported that an MIT study found that China has a higher rate of entrepreneurship than Europe and the US. They also have a high percentage of business founders who are focused on high growth. Those who work in the high-growth field start companies that have at least 20 employees.
In recent years, European countries have focused on promoting faster-growing entrepreneurship. For the past five years, European countries have been working to create better business conditions, such as tax incentives to encourage entrepreneurs.
This bill aims to bring innovators and job creators to the country. Hopefully, the US economy, workers, and consumers will benefit from the Startup Visa Act of 2010. As a San Francisco immigration attorney, I expect this law to be debated, as there always is with any change in immigration policy.
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